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How to Become a Graphic Designer Without a Degree

Last Updated on May 8, 2022 by

To get all the important details you need on How To Become A Graphic Designer Online, How To Become A Graphic Designer Without A Degree and how long does it take to become a self taught graphic designer. Please keep on reading this post from college learners. Always ensure you come back for all the latest information that you need with zero stress.

Graphic Designers are the unsung heroes of the design world. They are the people who make things look good, but not so good that it’s distracting. They do this through a combination of art and science: they know how to apply color theory principles to their work and they understand how to use typography to convey a specific message.

But graphic designers aren’t just about making things pretty—they’re also about communicating information clearly! That means they have to learn how to use grids, rules, and other design elements to organize information in an appealing way. And since graphic designers don’t usually work alone, they need to be able to work well with others and listen carefully when their team members give feedback on their designs.

So how do you become a graphic designer without going back to school? Well, there are lots of ways! But here are some tips:

-Learn how to use software like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop (the industry standard) by watching YouTube videos or taking online courses like [course name]. These programs can be overwhelming at first—but once you learn how they work, they’ll be your biggest asset as a designer!

-Read up on color theory principles so that you always

How long does it take a novice to learn graphic design? - Quora

How To Become A Graphic Designer Online

Is it necessary to invest in getting a degree in order to have a successful career in graphic design?”

This is probably a question wandering in the mind of every enthusiast headed to a career in graphic design.

Well, today I’ll go deeper into the subject from the perspective of a person working in the niche and from the personal experience of our graphic designers here in the studio who are successfully practicing the profession with or without an actual professional degree in the field.

First of all, what’s the problem with getting a degree and why does it bother people?

Simple, money is a major setback. Signing up for a degree is quite expensive and in most of the cases, it takes up to 4–5 years to complete. People are not sure if the investment will be justified at all.

True. The competition out there is harsh and there’s no guarantee that the degree you’ve just signed up for will ensure you the career of your dreams. Does this mean you don’t need to have an education in graphic design? Certainly not.

Getting a degree is not equal to getting an education.

More and more people with successful careers in design don’t actually own a diploma — Coco Chanel (a fashion designer), Tibor Kalman (a graphic designer) and many more famous names in the industry.

Let me tell you this. While a degree cannot make you a great graphic designer, potential employers and customers are looking for great designers with vision, knowledge, and skills. So, let’s go back to the question in the title and formulate the answer like this.

Yes. You can make it as a graphic designer without a degree. But not without education.

Successful people never stop learning. And I’m saying this from first-hand experience. We’ve got an all-star team of graphic designers here in the studio and not all of them are professionally certified in the field. But all of them are educated and constantly learning. And by constantly, I really mean every day. From books, from videos, from good examples in the industry, from bad examples in the industry, from their own mistakes, from other people’s mistakes.

Being educated is an ever-going journey, really! But you have to start somewhere, right?

Luckily, we live in the era of information where knowledge is simply a click away and education — more accessible than ever. Coming from graphic designers who have walked the walk, the first essential step in building your career as a graphic designer is setting a strong foundation.

There are brilliant books written on graphic design and amazing online graphic design courses which can be taken from any location in the world and will give you the needed foundation to build up on. Both books and courses come with invaluable advantages for your future career. My advice is don’t choose one over the other. Grab a book, enroll in a course and results will show soon.

The great thing about books is that you can take them anywhere with you. You can always go back for reference, re-read chapters, highlight important paragraphs, write down notes. Recently, on GraphicMama, we’ve made a selection of several graphic design books — absolute classics containing the basic visual principles of design which remain constant and valid no matter of the changing trends in the industry.

Enrolling in an online graphic design course also has unquestionable benefits. Most online graphic design courses on the web give you the option to choose between free and paid plans, allow you to learn at your own pace, provide mentors who guide you and assess your work, and more. We’ve made a thorough research on the subject to come up with a comprehensive guide on online graphic design courses that includes various online graphic design courses available on the web right now and suitable for people of different levels of experience and knowledge.

All sounds good but what about the employers? Isn’t a degree important to them?

Maybe. Maybe not. Let me tell you a little secret. Good employers are looking for top talent, not for a sheet of paper. With that being said, the asset you have to invest in is your portfolio. This is where your talent and your knowledge show. And nowadays, recognizing top talent is among every company’s priorities.

And what does it take to become a recognized graphic designer?

Success is built step by step. Seeing how hard it is to get noticed among thousands of candidates, it’s normal to be unsure if relying solely on books and design courses will make the wheels turning for you.

Instead of doubting your chances of success in graphic design (because doubting your capabilities lowers your chances of success in any career path you take), I’d recommend that you redirect this energy to a productive work. How?

Practice. Learn. Improve. Repeat. And always seek inspiration along the way.

Here is a bit of advice from our designers:

“Make connections with other designers, join communities, exchange experience. Reddit, for example, is a great place to ask for feedback about your work. Behance, Dribbble, Pinterest are awesome must-follow social media websites for inspiration. Visit events, seminars, festivals, conferences for graphic design where ideas are exchanged.”

“Sketch, write, store ideas in your mind and apply them in your work. All of this will help you develop a graphic designer mindset and form your own unique vision of a designer. Because knowledge is gold but the way you apply it in your projects is what matters most.”

Should you follow the trends?

Yes… but wisely.
Following the trends is a great way to stay up to date with every new craze happening in the graphic design world. And often, this is what clients require – they want their project to look ultramodern. Just don’t go too far and don’t lose your identity as a designer. Trends that are peaking right now may fade in less than a year.

Balancing function with good looks is something you should always strive to.
Then, of course, there are way steadier trends that have been around for longer and mark the modern graphic design. Each year, we at GraphicMama thoroughly research the web to identify the hottest trends going on at the moment. Here is a quick roundup of graphic design trends for 2020.

To sum it up,

Signing up for a degree program in graphic design doesn’t make or break your success. Your efforts do. Know where you stand, work hard, follow your goals. And always give a little bit of yourself. Because the world is thirsty for innovators. Not for imitators.

How To Become A Graphic Designer Without A Degree

A design degree can seem like the best and safest option to kickstart a career in graphic designer, providing both a foundation in skills theory and the relevant qualifications needed to get a job. But it’s not the only route into the industry. In fact, many junior designer roles are hired based on portfolio and experience as much as qualifications.

Accessing the right information on the internet might not be easy sometimes, that’s why we bring you in the article below, the best and latest information on graphic designer salary, what to learn to become a graphic designer, how to become a graphic designer online, graphic design jobs without degree. Read on to know more.

The one place you can find all the information you need regarding your job search issues such as dhow to become a graphic designer UK is Collegelearners.

I would recommend you save time and effort by visiting our website as soon as possible for the answer how to become a graphic designer online.

Even though a design degree seems the safest way to go, it’s not the only one. If you’re looking to become a graphic designer without going to school, you’re in the right place.

Leaving aside that the degree will teach you both foundation skills and theory, you can grow as a graphic designer without taking those courses.

The downside of getting a degree is spending 3 to 4 years of your life studying, and not to mention the substantial amount of money you’d be spending.

1. Take time to specialise

Graphic design is a broad industry that encompasses many specialities. While a graphic design degree may set you up with a foundation in the theory of many of these areas, if you don’t go down the degree route, you can focus your attentions on a specific niche or specialty: 

Developing a deeper knowledge of a specific skillset could give you a competitive advantage when it comes to applying for jobs.

Logo design is one area that is always in high demand and suits those who enjoy the communication theory behind consumer behaviour. If your personal interests lie more in tech than pencil and paper, then mobile app and website design are two other niches where a specialisation could set you up for success. 

Attending local hackathon or startup events is a great way to get some valuable experience in this side of the industry.

2. Master the software

Whether you enjoy it or not, you can’t fully escape technology in the professional design world – so it’s a good idea to start mastering it now. Even designers who prefer to work in traditional materials will often have to use online systems to make digital copies or work on project edits remotely.

  • Get Adobe Creative Cloud now 

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are the two obvious software choices (as well as InDesign for those who plan to work in print). A strong understanding of one or both is a real asset when a design degree is missing. 

Luckily, there are ways to self-teach or learn online when it comes to both. PSDTuts and TutsPlus offer some of the most popular in-depth tutorials, but there are many more to choose from. Take a look at our roundup of Photoshop tutorials to get started.

3. Invest in the tools

Your computer and its software will be two of the key components of your professional graphic design work, regardless of whether your do a degree or not. Software like Photoshop can require significant speed and space from an operating system, so it’s a good idea to invest in an up-to-date computer. 

The biggest challenge tends to be choosing between a PC or Mac. Mac is most commonly used among professionals and in design agencies, but the purchase ultimately comes down to budget and personal choice.

4. Learn how to write

OK, this might seem off topic, but a designer’s job is about more than looking after the pictures or making things look aesthetically good. A great designer will also have some skill with copywriting, and understands that good design is about the correlation between imagery, colours and language.

There are plenty of online blogs and traditional design books dedicated to writing for design so get to know the basics and try replacing that ‘Lorem Ipsum’ text in your next design drafts.

5. Develop your style

Style can often be the differentiating factor in becoming a successful graphic designer, whether that means securing an in-house role or building your own freelance business. Of course your own personal preference will take time to come to the fore, as you practice with different styles. 

However, when you do start to find your style groove – that area where what you’re best at meets what you prefer to work on – that’s the time to start honing it. A good way to practice your style is to take other people’s work and recreate it as your own version. Then you can move on to creating projects from scratch in your style.

6. Build an online portfolio

While this article explains the many ways you don’t necessarily need a degree to work in graphic design, one thing there is no workaround for is the need for a design portfolio. It can feel frustrating building a portfolio from scratch, without the educational projects or work experience to fill it.

One way to show both design theory and showcase your designs at the same time is to take poorly designed logos, websites or posters, and place them beside your own, improved versions. Then you can explain the issues and why your design is more effective. Just remember to keep only your best work for the portfolio showcase, and clearly state that it’s an unsolicited redesign.

As for whether your portfolio should be in paper form or online again, is a personal decision, however you would be advised to put some ‘shop front’ on the internet, even if it’s only a selection of your work. A huge amount of networking and inspiration in the industry comes from online sites like Dribble and Behance and a website is an easy business card to reach a marketplace of millions.

7. Get to grips with user experience

User experience in design (often referred to as UX) is the process of creating products that have been designed with both usability and user pleasure in mind. That means it incorporates elements of branding and design as much as practical usability and function.

This is an important area for designers to understand, as they will often be designing graphically alongside web designers or app builders for example, who will expect the designs to reflect important concepts like designing for screen, eliciting emotional responses and ease of use.

8. Learn the business of design

Graphic design is a creative job, but like all professions it operates within a business environment. That means there are skills you can bring to a role in the industry that lie outside the theoretical or practical teachings of a degree course. 

Skills like client negotiations, designing to briefs or writing business development proposals, as well as learning how design work is costed, how the time is tracked or the elements that go into design contracts. 

A lot of this can be learned online by reading design blogs and by keeping up to date with the latest advice for people who work creatively with clients.

9. Don’t forget the theory

All of this practical experience and industry research will go a long way to helping you compete with design degree graduates. However, it would be foolish to think that not studying a degree means ignoring theory altogether. 

Understanding design principles remains important and many of them can be self-taught through reading and research. You can break the theories down into categories and start small, with colour theory for example. Or you could look to a more structured course such as the TutsPlus graphic design self-study course.

10. Get a job as a designer

In order to take your own knowledge, skills and portfolio to the next level, it will eventually become necessary for you to gain real world work experience. This may seem like a chicken and egg scenario (a job without experience, experience without a job) but there are creative ways to find these opportunities, even at the early stage of your career.

Researching companies you may be interested in working for, connecting with people through networking sites like LinkedIn, pitching for internships or mentoring, are all ways of getting noticed and gaining industry experience. But there are many more.

Similarly, there are online jobs boards where you could pitch for freelance projects, such as Fiverr or Upwork, and there is always the option to pitch a project yourself to a voluntary organisation, a friend’s business or a local shop.

how long does it take to become a self taught graphic designer

The time it takes to become a Graphic Designer can vary depending on the person’s education and experience. A typical university program can take four years, while a graphic design course or UX design bootcamp can range between a few weeks to a few months. Once a Designer has the foundational skills and knowledge of design, as well as a strong portfolio, they can begin freelancing. The time it takes for a Graphic Designer to land their first design job can vary, but their chances will be improved by networking and connecting with other Designers.

How Do You Find Your Speciality?

There are a variety of specialties in graphic design, and finding the right one will depend on your goals, interests, and passions. Consider some of these questions as you work to find your speciality.

  • Who do you want to interact with? This includes the people you will be working with, as well as the people who will see your design.
  • What are your passions? As you work on different designs, think about what projects you are most passionate about or what work you most enjoy doing.
  • What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish as a Graphic Designer? Consider your career goals and what you hope to achieve as you continue in your career.

While specializations can certainly help you stand out, it’s important to note that you don’t need to find your specialty right away. When you are starting out in graphic design, consider experimenting with various types of design. Try and practice different design areas to see what works for you.

Is Graphic Design Hard to Learn?

Learning graphic design is not hard, but it does require creative thinking, an aptitude towards art and design, and time and dedication. Graphic design requires learning the necessary tools, as well as understanding and applying the principles and theories of design.

Graphic Designers need to constantly be practicing and improving their design skills, which takes time and effort. In addition, they will need to stay up-to-date with design trends and technologies. While all of this can be learned, it will require hard work and a passion for the craft.

Do You Need a Degree to Become a Graphic Designer?

You do not need a degree in graphic design to become a Graphic Designer. Some companies may require a degree, diploma, or certification for you to be considered for a role, but most employers are more focused on a Designer’s portfolio and skills. Experience is also essential. Graphic Designers need to always be practicing their craft and working on personal projects to give themselves a leg up on the job market.

The question of how to become a graphic designer without a degree is one that’s been debated for years. And while it’s true that you can’t get into the field without having some formal training, there are many ways to get your foot in the door and start building your experience.

Get your hands on some free or inexpensive software and start making your own graphics. If you’re really interested in becoming a graphic designer, this will be a fun way to practice and see what it feels like to create something from scratch.

Volunteer for local businesses or non-profits. You’ll be able to get experience working with real clients and creating visual content for them. If you want to go above and beyond, offer up some pro bono work as well!

Find an internship at an advertising agency or design firm. These types of companies often need interns during summer months when their workloads are lighter, so it’s worth looking into! Just make sure that they’re willing to give you real work (not just busy work) and teach you valuable skills along the way.

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